tv NOW With Alex Wagner MSNBC January 22, 2014 1:00pm-2:01pm PST
yachts, and ferraris. it is wednesday, january 22nd, and this is "now." >> falling gop stars. two guys that got elected on the same day in 2009. >> once promising faces of the gop future are now uncertain about their issue. >> potentially facing decades in jail. >> a silver engraved rolex. >> there's a desperation and a stupidity of texting for a 20 grand loan. >> he says he did nothing illegal. >> chris christie taking his most serious shot yet from within his own party. >> the problem for christie is that there's too many official
investigations open. >> both of them have this taint of scandals. >> this is a stunning fall from grace. for mcdonnell, it is game, set, match. >> he is bringing baggage from new jersey. >> if christie can recover, there's no doubt it's going to hurt him. call it gift gate or maybe operation return to sender. 11 days after closing the door on the governor's mansion, bob mcdonnell and his wife have been slapped with a 14 count federal grand jury indictment for accepting illegal gifts from wealthy businessmen and johnny williams. gifts they began soliciting
before they set foot in the governor's mansion. the wife asked williams if he could foot the bill for an oscar de la renta dress. the first lady of virginia explained they had a cash flow problem. i need to talk to you about inaugural clothing budget. we are broke. this is inaugural is killing us. this was the first in a long line of requests sent to the mcdonnell's only private santa cla claus, johnny williams. april 13th, 2011, was a great day for maureen mcdonnell. he accompanied her to luxury stores in new york city.
j.w. paid for the entire luxury shopping trip. what a trip it was! almost $11,000 spent at oscar de la renta. 6,000 at louis vitton. the governor received a cornucopia of luxury freebies. $25,000 for two of his daughter's weddings. a four day all expense paid trip to cape cod, yacht included. over $7,000 in golfing expenses. a $6,500 engraved rolex watch. and the use of mr. williams ferrari.
cameron fry is so jealous. last night responding to the indictment or the delusionally long list of stuff he thought he could get away with, the former governor was defiant. >> while i deeply regret accepting these legal gifts and loans from mr. williams, all of these have been returned and repaid with interest. i repeat again emphatically that i did nothing illegal for mr. williams in exchange for what i believe was his personal friendship and his generosity. >> joining me now is ryan grim and michael steel. ryan, let's start with this goody bag. i don't think a bag is big enough to fit everything governor mcdonnell got. the brazenness, the shamelessness of this behavior is breathtaking. in this day and age, i think it is hard to take away the
american public's breath. on june 1st 2011, he purchased 6,000 shares of star scientific. she spoke glowingly of that company at a promotional event. did ethics never appear on their screen? >> ethics appeared because she knew at the end of year she had to make an ethics filing, so he reached out to her broker to try to figure out ways she could get rid of this stock, which she knew was shady before january 1st. and the broker, even, was uncomfortable with what he was being asked to do and she did discard most of it to her children on december 31st and kept less than $10,000 for herself. ethics did come up. she did know what she was doing
there and actually tried to fudge it for a little while. >> chairman steel, that seems to make it worse. they kind of knew they were doing really bad stuff and then trying to hide it. i wonder what you make of the governor's statement yesterday saying, i did nothing illegal for mr. williams in exchange for what i believe was his generosity and friendship. do you believe the governor thought this was just an act of friendship? >> you're talking about the former attorney general of the state. he has some understanding and appreciation of what the laws will allow and not allow. he's saying it from the perspective of knowing that the law in virginia, unlike many other states, i would say probably ever other state, is broad. it is very vast in what an elected official is able to get as a gift, what they have to
report as a gift. and that was the playground they played on. when he says, look, i was talking with some prosecutors earlier today. they said, you know, the irony here is he could wind up getting off on this by the virtue of the way the law in virginia is written. there's that aspect of it. but the sad part for me was, bob mcdonnell was a good governor for the state of virginia. he had done some very good things on the environment and transportation. some very good things -- >> on transvaginal ultrasounds. >> that's a different story, altogether. >> yes. >> the fact of the matter, what he implemented, that was a legislati legislative initiative. to have that crazy approach to being in governance is very
upsetting and disappointing. >> i hear you on those points, chairman, in terms of being overwhelmed with -- one can only call it agreed. that was at the base of it, ryan. johnny williams is also a character worth talking a moment about, ryan, in so far as, what did this guy get? he was at the beck and call of the governor and his wife. he donated over $100,000 in corporate jet travel alone after the campaign was over. from what i can gather, what he got from the governor amounted to sort of passing endorsements. i will read one anecdote from march 21st of 2012. he told the secretary of administration and one of her
staff members, that it has beneficial health effects and he personally took it and it was working well for him. he told them to reach out with them and meet with them to discuss it. this is the first time it is in the national water supply as a conversation piece. >> what he needed was some public recognition that this health product works and that's what mcdonnell was able to get. he also connected him with his health department official who kind of facilitated some type of clinical studies that he wanted to try to show that this product worked, but you're right. it's a bunch of hokey stuff. the sad thing is our political system creates, you know, plenty
of avenues for politicians to get extraordinarily rich on the backs of the american people, but you just have to wait until you step out of all this. >> until the door is closed to the governor's mansion. >> and he was term limited. he knew he was out anyway. he could be signing up with a law firm right now at a seven-figure salary and he could go out and buy all the rolexs he wanted. he could fly on private jets all he wanted, and all he would have to do, you know, is just have waited until that moment. >> chairman steel, we were talking about greed and lust. the documents are a staggering diagram to which politicians can subcomb. they are public people and they
need fancy clothes, but the service and servant part seems to be lost. you serve at the behest of the people of virginia. how do we get the clock back on that? >> that's a good question. i agree with you wholeheartedly on that. the idea of public servant has gotten lost in this sort of new environment where grab what you can now. in prince george county where i'm from, we had a county executive get caught up in a sting where his wife was stuffing $70,000 in her bra. what is lost is you're here to serve. these folks get to stay for a long time. you have one term as the governor of virginia. just one four-year term. to bring it down this way is
unconchable. i think that's where a lot of the money comes into play. you see certainly on my side of the fence a lot of money being raised in all quarters for what? an election should be about what the people want, not a small group of people want. >> ryan grim and michael steel, thank you both for your time. >> thanks, alex. >> thank you. >> coming up, we'll look at the secret strategy to roll back a woman's right to choose when janet wrightman joins us. chris christie is now facing calls to give up one of his key party posts. we'll discuss grand old --
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just from the perspective of setting aside this as an issue in other races, it makes sense for him to step aside in that roll. that doesn't mean any of the charges political or otherwise are substantive. it doesn't matter. perception is reality. >> those were the words of failed candidate of can cut-- l night. the criticism is just the latest in a conservative pile on. one that has taken bridgegate as an opportunity to blast chris
christie for being a troublesome bully and for being a dominating diva. senator graham softened his critique saying he was impressed with christie's marathon mea cul culpa. for example, during a tough governor's race in the state of virginia. >> i've already heard from one republican source who said, where was chris christie? saying they made an effort, reached out to christie, and asked him to come down and campaign and christie said no. >> did somebody say payback? joining me now is josh barrow and nick. nick, i'll start with you first. is chris christie shedding any
tears over ken saying he should give up his chairmanship with the rga? >> i don't think so. this guy is very popular in circles. this just happens to dove tail with the broader criticism of chris christie. >> we have new polling showing that christie has lost 26 points among democrats. is he going to have to be more reliant on conservatives and republicans if he's losing support? >> he does. think about it. if you're a republican governor in a blue state, your support is really based in republicans and independents. but also they look to you as their flag bearer. this is a democratic state with democratic majorities in the
legislature. there's nowhere else for them to go for republican statewide office. everything i heard at the inauguration says that people at the grass roots love this guy in jersey. >> josh, as always you have an incisive and a column out today that goes against the conventional wisdom. maybe it doesn't go directly against conventional wisdom, because some folks will agree with it. you say part of -- we shouldn't want a governor who doesn't try to instill favor in his allies and fear in his opponents because that is the foundation of bipartisanship is favor giving and fear mongering, if you will. >> what people have said about christie is he brings people together and gets things done. how exactly did they think he did that? part of that is listening to
people, but it is also making people feel like they're better off if they're with you than against you. you shouldn't close local access lanes to the george washington bridge. the latest scandal involves carl lewis. he says chris christie called him and said i will come after you if you do this. these seem like the sorts of political things a governor ought to be doing trying to get strong candidates out of races. >> closing the bridges, there were casualties to that decision. or hurricane sandy relief funds. >> we'll see what that investigation says. as i read the grant politics from hoboken, it's not clear if they would have gotten more money if the governor had it out for them. cancelling meetings with the mayor of jersey city or deciding where to put the dmv office,
these are matters that are part of horse trading. >> we got rid of our earmarks and people say we don't get anything on capitol hill because there's no earmarks. >> if you take away this petty stuff, people become very ideological. i'll cling to whatever my party's base says is the right ideological decision. it's not this this transactional politics is wonderful or enlightening all the time. we need to figure out how much less of a bully we want chris christie to be. the answer is somewhat, but not all the way. >> the split while not unpredictable given their past history does point to a broader rift. the split inside the gop between the tea partiers and the radical conservatives and the more
mainstream moderate. there's talk -- the president eluded to this -- that eventually republicans will come around and heal their rifts. i think he makes an important point. he says democrats -- he talks about the 1980s up that the clinton era. democrats didn't have an easy go of it exactly, but they modified their positions across a range of issues. maybe republicans can do the same. t taking on new deb-- it's as if chris christies and ken must be forced to exist under the same tent, but in terms of policy can't. do you agree with that? >> look, it was a huge struggle for democrats in the 90s to sort of realign themselves with the
country. yes, they changed position on hot button issues. substantive policy change. two, after doing that, they won. it's really victory that tends to soothe all of these wounds and these divisions. the party out of power is always squabbling. if you get someone like christie who comes in and wins the white house, you find these disputes and big front page stories about the cleavage in the party go away over time. >> one last one for you, josh. what do you make of the fact that mike lee has been tapped to give the tea party state of the union response? the mainstream republican party has not been able to pick their spokesperson yet. >> he's been saying things that aren't purely about messages and
jobs, jobs, jobs anymore. i think that's a hopeful sign from the tea party. i think the mainstream republicans don't know what kind of policy message they want to put forward. >> or who their ambassador is for that message. >> i think their strategy is get out of the way and let people talk about obamacare as much as possible. >> obamacare will be giving the republican state of the union response. thank you both, guys. coming up, wendy davis becomes the object of strange conservative obsession. but first, say it ain't so. the man suspected of leaking painted masterpieces of former george w. bush has been caught. has the most coverage? this isn't real difficult... pretty obvious to me. i'm going to have to say verizon. verizon. that's right!
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another nude self-portrait of former president george w. bush. we'll have no idea if he'll return to his shower period. the reason we may never be privy again is because the infamous hacker who exposed those paintings was reportedly arrested in romania. last february, he used his computer wizardry to break into the accounts of several relatives and friends of george w. bush. in addition to the nude portraits, he released a slew of bush family photos to the website the smoking gun. among his list of allegedly hacking conquests, the season finale script of downton abbey. this suggestive doodle executed
by former president clinton. and a series of e-mails between colin powell and a romanian diplomat. he included an ominous statement saying his future remains unknown and he is trying desperately trying to erase his files on his computer or smartphone. while his online transgressions never paid off, the legacy is secure providing this never before seen side of our 43rd president. one the world never expected or will ever be able to purge from collective memory. conservatives have mapped
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right to choose. in the latest issue of "rolling stone" janet reitman chronicles the stealth war on a woman's right to choose. joining me now is janet reitman. i said this to you before the segment began. this is one of the most important pieces i have read about women's health and reproductive freedoms. let's talk first about the broad change in strategy. the focus on the unborn to putting the focus on women and women's safety and health. >> right. women's health. >> tell us more about the
iteration of strategy. >> casting abortion as a matter of fetal murder was just a completely unsuccessful strategy and it made them look kind of like extremists, waving the bloody fetus pictures and holding these massive rallies or blockading the clinics. it marginalized them, i believe. according to some of these people, that is exactly what they've felt. over the years, people were thinking how can we chip away at this at the state level? and let's pass legislation that will restrict abortion and we'll do so in a way that makes it seem like we're protecting women's health. >> you compare abortions to kol
lon os copies. you do not see a huge sort of anti-colonoscopy lobby. the most, i think, shocking part of the piece is the behind the scenes funding of organizations like the national right to life committee and the americans united for life, aul, which in terms of drafting this legislation are a lot alike the american legislative council. tell us about how these groups operate. >> they operate in drafting model legislation. they attend conferences.
they don't present, but they pass out their literature and they make this available to legislators who go. most are pro-life anyway. these agendas are very much connected. most reporters don't cover this enough or know this enough to make these connections, but if you talk to enough people, specifically those who cover religious right, they've been documenting the ways in which the religious right has formed a union with the political conservatives. >> in the piece, you say some abortion rights advocates have compared the americans united for life to the secret funded corporate organization responsible for stand your ground laws. aul sends state and federal lawmakers across the country a playbook featuring a report card on the state of anti-abortion
legislation and a step by step guy to make sure that roe v wade doesn't complicate legislation. >> i think that it's going to keep getting -- you'll see these attempts in more and more states and more and more of these attempts as we get closer and closer down the line. i think 2014 will be interesting because this issue is becoming a real issue for progressives. i'm not the only journalists who have made these connections. more and more people are asking these questions. we'll see what happens. >> just before we let you go, in terms of the response from progressives, do you sense there are the beginnings of organizations and networks around this that can be a
progressive pro-choice answer? >> i'd like to say yes. i hope so. i think the real problem is funding. i think they're just really massively o lly out funded by t right. they have an organizational structure on the right that's bigger and it's extremely targeted. and i just think progressives are having to wake up to this very quickly. i hope they do. >> the first step to mobilization is awareness. thank you so much for your full-titime. tomorrow sarah silverman will join me to discuss her project "v to shining v."
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i want to thank every american who participated in this election. whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time. by the way, we have to fix that. >> making good on a resolution announced on the night of his reelection president obama announced a new recommendations to make it easier to vote. the suggestions came from a commission chaired by bob bauer, representing the left, and ben ginsburg, representing the
right. an expansion of online voter registration, an expansion of early voting, and an increased use of schools as polling places. these weren't all that bipartisan for some members of the republican party. a new conservative pack called sos for sos plans to spend $10 million to target sos. smart voting policies like voter id measures, proof of citizenship requirements, and removing ineligible voters. are they really smart voting policies or strategies to repress voting? look no further than north carolina. according to the southern coalition for justice, in that state alone, over 318,000
residents lack a state issued id. it isn't only shameless. it's fraudulent. the thing worth saving is free and unfettered access to the voting book. after the break, it is known as the windy city and chi-town, but it is being associated with a new name, chi-rock. that's coming up next. morgan brennan has the cnbc market wrap. we had a mixed session today. the dow falling 41 points. the s&p 500 gaining one point and the nasdaq gaining 17 points.
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in 2013, the city of chicago saw over 400 murders. more than any other city in the country, including new york city. if there's any ray of hope, it's that these numbers represent a decrease from the year before. the mayor begged the city's gang bangers to take your stuff to the alley. don't touch the children. that was last year. drill music was born. led by teenager music stars. it graphically discusses violent life on chicago's south side. thomas morton explores one of the most controversial music
phenomenons in hip hop history. >> how did you start making music? >> i started making music when i was 11 years old. my cousin introduced me to fruity loops. at first it was called dead music because everything you're talking about is they shooting guns. it is just real life. that's how people related to it. >> joining me now is thomas morton. we talk about this being controversial. it seems like cycle of whether music is glorifying violence or if it really is like that. >> it is an age-old question. when you mention rob emmanuel talking to the gang bangers and saying leave the children alone,
the rappers who are making drill music are teens. nevertheless, they're under 20. this is all they've been handed pretty much. it's foolish to expect them to be able to turn something else about it. they live in one of the most deprived neighborhoods not just in chicago, but in the country. it shouldn't surprise anybody that that's -- that's basically all they have to rap about. what else would they be talking about? >> the magazine i used to work for did a piece on chicago a month ago. there are reasons why people are shooting each other that have nothing to do with availability of guns.
there are kids who have no sense of a future. that speaks volumes on how we abandon those on the very bottom. the trauma that these people are living through isn't easily dismissed. this becomes part of your dna and has emotionally scarred you on a profound level. >> chief is the breakout star of drill. he has a contract of $6 million. you can't just leave that neighborhood behind. you keep your gang affiliation. if you're not tied to it, your rival gang members and fellow gang members and stuff, you don't bow out. you don't cash out when you have enough money to get a decent house somewhere else. >> this rivalry continues on social media.
>> they're really big into twitter and instagram. >> it plays out in sort of realtime what's happening there, what's happening between the dynamics of these artists. it's an eight-part series, which is ambitious. it is rolling out online in the next seven weeks. thomas morton, thank you. >> thank you. coming up, she's a rising star in the democratic party. she could help turn texas blue. but for eric erikkson, wendy davis is something else. an obsession. i'll explain. just one squeeze? just enjoy it with your eyes. [ female announcer ] new charmin ultra soft is so soft you don't even have to squeeze it to believe it. for the first time you can actually see the softness with our new comfort cushions. new charmin ultra soft is still so much softer and more absorbent
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mom. in addition to her famous 11 hour filibuster, one of the things the texas state senator is known for is her biography. over the weekend, the dallas morning news reported there were some minor inconsistencies in her life story. her divorce was finalize at age 21 rather than 19. she lived in a trailer for a shorter time than suggested. the fundamentals of davis' life remain very much the same, but her critics are pouncing at the opportunity to frame davis as a heartless liar, desperate for a sugar daddy. greg abbott announced on monday that davis has deceived voters. rush limbaugh called her a fake
and a genuine head case. >> she struggled up from single motherhood and made it to harvard law school. no, she married a sugar daddy. he pays her tuition. as soon as the last tuition payment is paid, he said she left the next day. she keeps saying my story is the story of all texas women. maybe if you're anna nicole smith. >> to compare them seems like a little bit of a stretch, but the award for the person most bizarrely obsessed with wendy
davis goes to erick erickson who has published over 50 tweets about davis. she had a sugar daddy ken. not exactly the bio she claimed. don't worry democrats. there's still time for wendy davis to abort her campaign. wendy davis is just so adorable when she's angry. wendy davis is upset. she's so cute when she's lying. i love how alpha male wendy davis sounds when she's angry. you should stop tweeting them. when was the last time a man running for governor in texas or any statewide office had to specify who paid for his law degree or if he had help with
the kids and when did he finalize his divorce and how many days in a trailer qualifies for hardship? the answer to that is never. "the ed show" is up next. good evening, americans. welcome to "the ed show" live from new york. let's get to work. >> listen, when it comes to unemployment insurance -- >> unemployment insurance that millions of americans rely on for support of their families as they look for work. >> they need assistance. they've deserved it. they've earned it. >> how many times have we talked about this? >> for three decades, we have sought to solve the problems of unemployment. >> house